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Activist investor that wants to breakup Shop 'n Save parent Supervalu nominates new directors

Activist investor that wants to breakup Shop 'n Save parent Supervalu nominates new directors

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Minneapolis-based Supervalu has confirmed that activist investor Blackwell Capital, a New York firm that owns about 4 percent of the company, has nominated six new directors to the company's board.

Supervalu does not believe changes to the board proposed by Blackwells are necessary to ensure continued execution. 

Supervalu is the parent company of Kirkwood-based Shop 'n Save, which has 36 stores in the St. Louis region. 

Blackwells has previously stated its intentions to separate Supervalu's retail and wholesale group and sell the wholesale unit. Shop 'n Save is part of its retail division.

Blackwells, which last month nominated three additional board members, has now proposed to replace six of Supervalu's nine board members.

A growing number of investment firms are implementing activist strategies, hoping to drive share value by gaining a board seat or setting a new course of action at publicly traded companies.

The number of public companies subjected to activist demands peaked in 2016 at 843, according to data from Activist Insight, with 805 companies targeted last year — a figure that is up more than 400 percent from 2013. Further, more activist firms are going after large-cap companies, or those with total shares valued at least $10 billion (market cap), an Activist Insight report showed, spurring large companies to start forming defense strategies around such attacks.

Earlier this month, Newell Brands Inc., the parent company of Town and Country-based Rawlings, gave billionaire investor Carl Icahn four board seats in an successful attempt to fend off hedge fund investor Starboard Value LP, which had been pushing for full control of the Sharpie pens maker's board of directors.

Brian Feldt of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch contributed to this report.

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